Parliament Postpones Discussion of Per Minute Billing

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The vote on a bill which would change the law on telecommunications was postponed for two weeks on Monday. The initiative to postpone the discussion was taken by Arshak Sadoyan–the author of the bill.

The draft legislation provides for a ban on the introduction of per-minute billing of telephone calls in Armenia until equal conditions are created for all telephone users.

The vote was postponed after Transport and Communications Minister Andranik Margarian announced that the board of directors of ArmenTel would hold a meeting on September 27 to discuss the issue. The minister is confident that the new billing system would not be introduced. He repeated that ArmenTel had failed to comply with the requiremen’s of license N 60 and the government resolution N 658. Using his right of the head of the regulatory body–the minister banned the introduction of the per-minute billing system.

Margarian said that even if ArmenTel submits a proposal on the introduction of the system 60 days in advance in accordance with the established order–the government would not accept it–and thereby–ArmenTel will have to maintain its previous prices. The minister added that the government could provide compensation for the population’s losses caused by ArmenTel’s actions.

The minister urged the parliament to allow the government "to carry it through"–stressing that the parliament could always return to the discussion of the bill if the government broke its promise.

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